Kentucky Recruiting Analysis: How Does 2020 Class Compare?

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University of Kentucky Recruiting Class 2020

A known fact across the country is that Kentucky is one of the best recruiting schools in the nation. John Calipari has brought in countless future NBA players, and has developed some of the best players in the NBA.

Each year, Kentucky’s recruiting class is ranked in the top 2 or 3 in the country. In fact, since Calipari came to the school, UK has had the number one overall class all but a couple times.

This upcoming 2020 class is no different. With 6 players currently committed and the possibility of adding one or two more, the future continues to look bright in Lexington.

Four of the six players committed are ranked as 5-stars, with the other two being high four-stars. In this article I will break down each player and see how this class compares to previous ones. Let’s get started.

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Player Summaries:

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Kentucky’s class is currently ranked #1 overall for the 2020 class. Despite having no definitive big man, the class is relatively well-rounded. With one PG, two SG’s, one SF, and two PF’s, there is enough diversity in terms of positions.

Terrence Clarke, 6’7 SG – #1 SG and #4 Overall

Clarke is our highest ranked recruit in the class. As a 6’7 guard, it is likely that he could play Small Forward as well if need be. Clarke is long, but also very athletic. His ability to get to the rim offensively is his biggest draw, but has recently worked on his jump shot and has developed a nice three-point stroke. His length will likely translate to solid perimeter defense as well. He relies on his athleticism and long frame to score, rebound, and defend. His feel for the game is another strength, and I think Clarke will end up being a top 10 NBA draft pick some day.

BJ Boston, 6’6 SG – #3 SG and #15 Overall

Boston is a player that I personally always felt was going to end up in a Duke uniform. That was the general perception for most of his recruitment. Thankfully, Kentucky landed him, and I’m very excited. BJ is an exceptional scorer, and has drawn mild comparisons to Brandon Ingram or Kevin Durant. As a long, lanky guard, he looks taller than he really is. He’s an offensive threat, with the ability to score at all three levels. His ball-handling is surprisingly good for a lanky player like Boston. He’s been a highlight reel machine in the offseason, and is exciting to watch. It’s a belief of mine that he is capable of switching from the SG spot to SF as well, so that versatility will be useful.

Devin Askew, 6’3 PG – #5 PG and #20 Overall

Askew was originally in the 2021 class, but was able to reclassify to 2020. He is the ideal height and weight for a Point Guard, and seems to be well-rounded. After watching some film, it’s obvious that Askew loves to get his teammates involved. He excels at driving to the basket, and is a reliable jump-shooter. Nothing really stands out to me about Askew’s game, though. He’s good at everything but not great at anything. I think he’ll be a solid PG for us, but may not be the top tier player UK fans are used to having at that position.

Isaiah Jackson, 6’9 PF – #3 PF and #27 Overall

Jackson is an interesting prospect to me. I can’t really point out what his strong-suits are, but I can’t point out weaknesses either. Jackson is a skinny forward, and won’t be a post beast. He’s got a good jump shot, and will likely be useful in pick and pop plays. His length and athleticism allow him to be a decent rebounder and shot-blocker, and will likely be a guy who gets putback dunks and alley-oops often. I’m excited to see what Jackson does, but he may be a project player.

Lance Ware, 6’9 PF – #5 PF and #36 Overall

I’m very excited about Lance Ware. The best way to describe his game would be EJ Montgomery with a motor. He’s got more muscle than Isaiah Jackson, but is still on the thinner side when it comes to forwards. Ware can stretch the floor out to mid-range, and is aggressive when attacking the basket. He actually has a solid post game, utilizing hooks and fadeaways often. Lance is a good rebounder, and has a knack for blocking shots. I think Ware will surprise a lot of people.

Cam’Ron Fletcher, 6’6 SF – #11 SF and #44 Overall

Finally, we have Cam’Ron Fletcher. This is not the type of player Calipari usually signs, so we’ll see how it works. Fletcher is a prime example of an “uber-athlete”. He can jump out of the gym and is known for highlight-reel dunks. He lacks polish, however, and doesn’t seem to have a well-rounded game. His film consists of a lot of wild drives to the basket, finished off by questionable layups or big dunks. He’s a decent rebounder though, and seems to be able to get putbacks often. Fletcher reminds me a lot of Kahlil Whitney, except less-polished and not as good of a shooter. I don’t want to seem too negative, but this was a strange pickup for Calipari. I could be wrong, but Fletcher seems like he will be an almost guaranteed project.

Will Kentucky Land Any More Recruits?

As of right now, there are a few recruits that UK is pursuing, mostly to deal with the hole at the center position. With Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery potentially leaving this offseason, there will be no center on the roster.

Makur Maker, Cliff Omoruyi, and JT Thor are the only remaining big men in the 2020 class. Unless Calipari gets a reclassification or a grad transfer, these may be our only options to fill the center vacancy. I personally think that Omoruyi is the only one of the three that we have a chance to get, as Maker and Thor seem to be pondering other opportunities. Landing Omoruyi would be ideal, but don’t be surprised if we aren’t able to get a big man in this class.

Comparing to Previous UK Classes

Historically, Kentucky recruiting classes feature a prize point guard and a prize center. Calipari believes those are the most important positions on the floor, and he’s right. Lately, he’s paid more attention to the other positions, and less to the aforementioned two. This upcoming class lacks a star at either of those positions, but has two very promising players in Clarke and Boston. Both of them are likely lottery picks in the future.

My emphasis on the PG and C positions is well-deserved. In the past, the best Calipari teams had elite players at those spots. The championship season featured Marquis Teague and Anthony Davis, both of which were the #1 ranked player at their respective positions. John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, Andrew Harrison and Karl Towns, and so forth.

What to Worry about

I’m worried that our lack of a star at those spots will be an issue, but it’s possible that the talent at the other positions will make up for it. I don’t believe Cam’Ron Fletcher will do much as a freshman, because we could potentially be returning two players at the SF spot, as well as the two other wings we have in this 2020 class. If we aren’t able to land a Center in this class, it is likely that Isaiah Jackson or Lance Ware will have to play in the middle next year. With both of them being only 6’9, that doesn’t bode well for our post-play.

Talent-wise, this class meets the standards. Terrence Clarke and BJ Boston are the can’t-miss headliners, and Devin Askew is also talented. The rest of the class is up in the air, but I think they’ll all be solid. If Kentucky returns a decent amount of players next season, it’s possible that it will be a deep, experienced, and talented squad. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Go Big Blue.

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2 COMMENTS

    • I’d say more Hami and Kahlil Whitney. Freak athletes with potential, but no polish. Archie Goodwin was a lot more nimble and agile than Fletcher.

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